Message Traffic Between Grant, Meade, and Warren: Night of March 31-April 1, 1865

   

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Editor’s Note: In an attempt to better understand how the orders to Army of the Potomac Fifth Corps commander Gouverneur K. Warren changed as Meade and Grant got a better picture of the strategic situation on the night of March 31-April 1, 1865, I pieced together my own notes on the message traffic between Warren, Meade, and Grant.  Prior to displaying that information, I’d like to provide a bit of context.  Warren had just fought the Battle of White Oak Road earlier on March 31 along the Confederate White Oak Road line.  After a Confederate attack routed the divisions of Ayres and Crawford, they rallied on Griffin.  A Union counterattack reversed the situation and blocked the White Oak Road to the west, the direct route to the Confederate expeditionary force under George Pickett.  That same day, Pickett’s combined infantry/cavalry force had driven Phil Sheridan’s Union cavalry back from Five Forks nearly to Dinwiddie Court House.  The court house was directly to the southwest of Warren’s current position, down the Boydton Plank Road, which crossed Gravelly Run mid-way.  Sheridan’s predicament led Grant and Meade to want to reinforce the cavalryman.  This is the message traffic regarding that topic.  Grant and Sheridan would later claim Warren was slow to come to Sheridan’s aid, and at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865, Sheridan relieved Warren from command, having Grant’s permission to do so.

I tried to place it in chronological order, but keep in mind that the times are typically when these items were sent.  It doesn’t mean they were received minutes or in some cases even hours later.  All page numbers are from the Official Records, Volume XLVI, Part 3.

ChamberlainPassingoftheArmies1915MapAfterPage098WhiteOakRdAndFiveForks

Map Showing the Area Occupied by Warren and Sheridan, March 31-April 1, 1865

 

Message Traffic Involving Grant, Meade, Sheridan, Ord and Warren:

March 31-April 1, 1865

 

MARCH 31

  • Meade to Warren, 4:30 pm: Secure position and protect your left. Info of today sent to Sheridan, and we think he’s moving up on your left. [Wrong, he was getting driven south to Dinwiddie CH.] Humphreys ordered to move up on your right. Push a force down White Oak Road “if you think it worth while,” to try to contact Sheridan, but don’t mistakenly fire into him.  363

 

  • Meade to Warren, 5:15 pm (recd 5:45 pm): Push a brigade down White Oak Road to open it for Sheridan, and support “same” [the brigade or Sheridan?] if necessary. PS Firing in Sheridan’s direction so near that Meade thinks you won’t have to go far. Distance you move depends on circumstances. 363

 

  • Ord to Grant, (no time, not sure when): One of Sheridan’s scouts who escaped Confederates says enemy has at Stony Creek near Dinwiddie CH two cavalry brigades, one infantry brigade, and two pieces of artillery. 377

 

  • Meade to Grant, 5:30 pm: Firing in Sheridan’s direction heard. Warren is to send a force down White Oak Road to cooperate with Sheridan.  Casualties for the day to come.  Meade thinks they will be under 1,000. 130 total prisoners taken with more expected.  Three battle flags taken.  338

 

  • Warren to Meade, 5:50 pm: Just met with an officer and sergeant from Sheridan who were cut off from their command but escaped. Our cavalry was attacked at noon by combined infantry/cavalry force and driven back. Fighting done by Devin and Crook. Firing seems to recede in direction of Dinwiddie CH. [All correct.] Warren has sent Bartlett’s Brigade and his cavalry escort in that direction, but thinks they won’t make it in time to help.  Cannonading now coming in from near Dinwiddie CH.  364

 

  • Meade to Warren, (no time, but presumably between 5:50 and 6:30 due to appearance in ORs): One of Merritt’s staff officers reports that Confederates have penetrated between Sheridan and Warren, and that it is Pickett’s Division. [All correct.] Instead of sending force down White Oak Road, send it down Boydton Plank Road ASAP. [By this point Warren had already sent Bartlett down White Oak Road, then south to J. Boisseau’s…] 364

 

  • Warren to Meade, 6:30 pm: I have ordered Gen. Pearson with three regiments on the Boydton Plank Road to move down it toward Dinwiddie CH. Too late to turn Bartlett around as he already moved out down White Oak Road.  Fifth Corps can see Confederate breastworks for two full miles along White Oak Road line.  If they are “well manned”, Warren can’t take them.  Warren is “within 200 yards of where they turn off north from the White Oak Road.” [i.e. just west of Claiborne Road.] 364

 

  • Meade to Grant, 6:35 pm: At least two brigades of Pickett’s Division facing Sheridan, and fighting was heard receding in direction of Dinwiddie CH. If Sheridan needs help from infantry, Meade must contract his lines immediately in order to do so. Warren sending a force down Boydton Plank Road to try to connect with Sheridan at Dinwiddie.  Warren can’t go down White Oak Road since Sheridan is far south of there after day’s fighting.  Let me know if you hear more from Sheridan and what you want me to do as a result. 338

 

  • Grant to Meade, (no time, presumably after Meade’s 6:35 pm message): Here’s a copy of Sheridan’s report (see very next message which includes Sheridan’s report on page 339). Says Hoke’s Division is back from North Carolina .  Horace Porter went to see Sheridan in person and has returned.  Devin driven in from J. Boisseau’s house in “considerable confusion.” Crook was sent in west of Devin to try to gain the enemy’s flank on White Oak Road, but this has so far failed.  Warren needs to watch his left in every direction, but Sheridan’s Cavalry’s location should prevent the Confederates from getting too far into Warren’s rear.  Meade should have provost question prisoners to see if Hoke’s Division is present. 338-339

 

  • Grant to Meade, (no time, but included with prior report so sent after 6:35 pm, Sheridan’s report written at 3:30 pm): Grant forwards Sheridan’s report to Meade, which states that Hoke’s Division and three brigades of Pickett’s Division were at Five Forks the night of March 30. [Hoke not there at all, info on Pickett and location is correct.  Missed two brigades of Johnson’s Division.] Rooney Lee attacked Smith on Chamberlain’s Creek but was repulsed.  Sheridan now preparing to attack Confederates, and will bring up one of Custer’s Brigades to help. 339

 

  • Meade to Grant, 7:10 pm: Meade says though it’s possible Hoke is there, he has heard no other indication this is true. If anything more than Pickett is facing Sheridan, he may be in a tough spot.  Meade needs to contract his lines if Grant wants him to send infantry to Sheridan’s aid. 339

 

  • Meade to Warren, 7:30 pm (recd 8 pm): Sheridan sends news he was forced back to Dinwiddie CH by combined enemy force of infantry/cavalry. Your rear and that of Second Corps now exposed, so watch out.  That brigade you sent down Boydton Plank Road should halt at Gravelly Run and go no further, so as to protect your rear and not get itself surrounded and captured.  364

 

  • Meade to Grant, 7:40 pm (recd 8:40 pm): Captain Sheridan has arrived at Meade’s HQ and is being sent to Grant. Sheridan is just north of Dinwiddie CH, having been driven back in that direction from the north and northwest.  If Sheridan has to retire he will do so via Vaughan Road. 340

 

  • Meade to Grant, 8 pm: Meade says that if Sheridan needs help, Meade would need to contract his lines. He asks if Turner’s Twenty-Fourth Corps division can be sent from north of Hatcher’s Run out the Vaughan Road to Sheridan’s aid instead. 340

 

  • Warren to Meade, 8:20 pm: Bartlett is on road running south to J. Boisseau’s, almost to crossing of Gravelly Run. Enemy won’t be able to communicate via that road.  Only two regiments and artillery available to hold Boydton Plank Road crossing of Gravelly Run.  Warren believes [correctly] that the Confederates cannot stay between Fifth Corps and Dinwiddie if Sheridan keeps fighting them, and they’ll have to fall back to Five Forks.  If Warren is asked to move in that direction tonight he’ll be forced to leave behind many stragglers who have lost their way in the darkness. Is Sheridan still in control ofDinwiddie CH itself? 364

 

  • Meade to Warren, 8:30 pm (recd 8:35 pm): We’ll probably need to shorten our lines tonight. Your job to hold, if possible, Boydton Plank Road to Gravelly Run.  Humphreys and Ord to man each side of Hatcher’s Run.  Be ready to move quickly if directed to do this. [It’s already 8:30 pm and no mention of moving to Sheridan’s aid with more than a brigade so far.]  365

 

  • Warren to Meade, 8:40 pm: Line along Boydton Plank Road “very strong.” One division with artillery can hold it as long as rear isn’t threatened south of Gravelly Run east of Boydton Road. Humphreys and Fifth Corps artillery could hold it securely, allowing Warren to move down to Dinwiddie and attack enemy in rear while Sheridan attacks in front.  Bartlett’s position at J. Boisseau forces enemy to detour quite a bit to send reinforcements from White Oak Road to force near Dinwiddie.  Unless Sheridan is too beat up, we can have an open field fight which we should take advantage of. [So Warren started suggesting he move to Sheridan’s aid.  I didn’t realize that previously.  It would be his doom.  Grant instructed Meade to have Warren send a division to Sheridan only a few minutes after this dispatch.]   365

 

  • Grant to Meade, 8:45 pm: The 6:35 and 7:40 dispatches from Meade have been received by Grant. Grant tells Meade to have Warren fall back to the Boydton Plank Road and send an infantry division to Sheridan by moving immediately down the Boydton Plank Road. 340

 

  • Meade to Grant, 8:45 pm (Sent 9 pm): Warren has been ordered to move back to Boydton Plank Road, where he is to then send Griffin down the road to Sheridan at Dinwiddie CH. 340

 

  • Meade to Humphreys, 8:55 pm (sent 9:10 pm): Meade changes orders. Humphreys now to hold his position from the morning, holding as far as Mrs. Butler’s and the return [note after this in OR states Humphreys received a version which said he was also to hold down Boydton Plank Road].  Warren to be massed on Humphreys’ left, ready to move in any direction. [obviously a reaction to Sheridan’s rough day and the need to reinforce him] 351

 

  • Meade to Grant, 9 pm: Meade ordered his medical director to send the Sixth Corps’ ambulances to come collect the Fifth Corps wounded. 340

 

  • Meade to Warren, 9 pm (recd 9:17 pm): By Grant’s orders, send Griffin’s division down Boydton Plank Road to Dinwiddie to report to Sheridan.  Humphreys will hold the lines west to Mrs. Butler’s. 365-366

 

  • Grant to Meade, 9:10 pm: Grant asks Meade to send any spare cavalry force to Dinwiddie CH to talk to Sheridan and bring back the latest. Grant would do so himself but he has none to send and info will be gotten quicker due to distance needed to be traveled.  341

 

  • Meade to Warren, 9:20 pm (recd 9:45 pm) Send Griffin at once. You are to be held free to act within the Boydton Plank Road.  Humphreys will hold to Boydton Plank Road. 366

 

  • Fifth Corps General Orders No. 23, 9:35 pm: 368
    • General Ayres will immediately withdraw his division back to where it was massed yesterday near the Boydton plank road.
    • General Crawford will follow General Ayres and mass his troops behind the intrenchments near Mrs. Butler’s.
    • General Griffin will immediately withdraw General Bartlett to his present position, then move back to the plank road and down it to Dinwiddie Court- House and report to General Sheridan.
    • Captain Horrell with the escort will remain where General Griffin’s headquarters now are till daybreak and then come back to the plank road bringing in all stragglers.
    • Division commanders in executing this movement, which is ordered by General Meade, [sic] to See that none of their pickets or any portion of their troops are left behind.
    • General Ayres and General Crawford will have their troops under arms at daybreak, and the chief of artillery will have all the batteries in readiness to move.

 

  • Ord to Grant, (no time, when did Mackenzie get trains across creek mentioned?): Trains Mackenzie was guarding crossed creek [Rowanty, Gravelly Run?]. He needs new orders.  What do you want him to do?  377

 

  • Meade to Warren, 9:40 pm (recd 10:15 pm): Since Warren sent his dispatch of 8:20 pm, Meade finds that Bartlett can’t move to join Griffin promptly enough in his movement to Sheridan.  Send a different brigade with Griffin in place of Bartlett.  Sheridan was attacked by four brigades, one from Gordon and three from Pickett.  . 366

 

  • Grant to Ord, 9:45 pm: Send Mackenzie to Sheridan at Dinwiddie CH. He has been attacked by combined force and needs help.  Fighting was still going on after dark, the last time I heard from him.  He has probably retreated to Vaughan Road by now. 378

 

  • Grant to Meade, 9:45 pm: If Meade is in contact with Mackenzie, order him to move to Sheridan’s support via Vaughan Road immediately. Grant has sent the same directions to Ord.  Meade should let Grant know when Griffin gets started.  Grant thinks if Griffin moves early and quickly, he might get in on Pickett’s rear.  Tell Griffin to be prompt. 341

 

  • Grant to Meade, 9:45 pm: Ord has managed to capture a knoll on the picket lines north of Hatcher’s Run which has a flanking fire on the left of the Confederate White Oak Road line. Ord is building a battery, which when fired, might allow Humphreys to advance his right enough to gain a flanking fire on the right flank of the Confederate Boydton Plank Road line north of Hatcher’s Run.  Humphreys knows about this, but Grant has not given him orders. 341

 

  • Meade to Grant, 9:45 pm: Meade suggests to Grant that Warren should take his whole Fifth Corps and move in on the rear of the force facing Sheridan. Humphreys can hold to and then along Boydton Plank Road in Warren’s absence.  Bartlett’s Brigade is “on the road from J. Boisseau’s running north, where it crosses Gravelly Run” having been sent there via the White Oak Road by Warren earlier that evening. Meade suggests Warren could go that way and take Pickett in the rear with all of Fifth Corps, or he could take two divisions into the enemy’s rear and send Sheridan one.  341

 

  • Humphreys to Warren, 9:45 pm (recd 2:55 am April 1 [why the delay?]): Humphreys tells Warren the Second Corps will go back to where they started on the morning of March 31, holding to Mrs. Butler’s and then “the return.” Humphreys tells Warren he isn’t familiar with the return, and asks where its far left flank rests, on Gravelly Run or elsewhere. 353

 

  • Warren to Meade, 10 pm: “Your dispatch of 9.20 is just received. I had already sent out my orders, of which I send you a copy.* You asked General Griffin to be sent to General Sheridan and at once. It will take so much time to get his command together that I withdraw the other divisions first, they being unengaged, but this will not retard General Griffin. The bridge is broken on the plank road, and will take I hardly know how long to make passable for infantry. I sent an officer to examine it as soon as your first order was received. He now reports it not fordable for infantry. It requires a span of forty feet to complete the bridge, and the stream is too deep to ford. Nevertheless, I will use everything I can get to make it passable by the time General Griffin’s division reaches it.” [It’s important to note the bridge was unexpectedly broken, and it will take time to rebridge Gravelly Run over Boydton Plank Road.] 366

 

  • Meade to Grant, 10 pm (recd 10:20 pm): Meade tells Grant he only has his personal escort of cavalry, but he will send an officer and 40 men of this to Sheridan. Meade also has passed along Grant’s orders to Mackenzie. 342

 

  • Grant to Meade, 10:15 pm: “Let Warren move in the way you propose and urge him not to stop for anything. Let Griffin go on as he was first directed. [What does this mean? It’s vague.  We know that Griffin is to go down Boydton Plan Road, but should Warren take the other two divisions and move to where Bartlett is at J. Boisseau’s, or should he move more directly southwest onto Pickett’s rear?  This looks like the start of the confusion.] 342

 

  • Meade to Warren, 10:15 pm (recd 10:48 pm): Send Griffin “promptly” down Boydton Plank Road, but take rest of your force down White Oak Road, then to Bartlett’s position, and hit enemy in rear. Sheridan’s last known position north of Dinwiddie CH near Dr. Smith’s, enemy holding that crossroads.  If enemy attacks you and overpowers you, retreat via J. M. Brooks’ and R. Boisseau’s on Boydton Plank Road. Be prompt and get to forks of road at J. M. Brooks’ before Confederates, so you open road to R. Boisseau’s.  Enemy will probably retreat to Five Forks.  Move lightly, leaving behind anything which will slow you.  Tell me when both you start and when Griffin starts. Acknowledge receipt.  367

 

  • Ord to Grant, 10:30 pm: Dispatch received. Mackenzie ordered to get off as soon as possible in morning. I forwarded your dispatch to him. 378

 

  • Grant to Meade, 10:30 pm: Asks Meade if he is telling Sheridan what is being done to save him and also directs Meade to tell Sheridan that Sheridan should take overall command of his cavalry and the infantry being sent him until the present emergency is over. 342

 

  • Grant to Ord, (no time, but responding to 10:30 pm dispatch): Get Mackenzie to Sheridan tonight. Tomorrow is too late. 378

 

  • Meade to Humphreys, 10:45 pm (sent 10:55 pm): Warren to move down direct/dirt road to Sheridan with two divisions to attack Confederates opposing Sheridan in their rear. This is the road past J. Boisseau’s house which Bartlett’s Brigade was already on.  Warren would need to move west down White Oak Road for a bit, then turn south to J. Boisseau’s and move still further south to hit Pickett in flank.] Warren also is to send a division [Griffin’s] directly down Boydton Plank Road to bolster Sheridan at Dinwiddie CH.  Humphreys is to dig in and remain on defensive. 352

 

  • Meade to Grant, 10:45 pm (sent 2:25 am April 1 [why the delay?]): Warren “was ordered some time since to push Griffin promptly down the plank road to Sheridan.” Meade now [when? 10:45? 2:25? Somewhere in between?] ordered Warren to move south down the road from J. Boisseau’s to Dinwiddie with rest of his force to attack enemy in rear, but be ready to move back to plank road if they are too strong for him.  Sheridan was notified of these orders, but the messenger left to soon to be able to tack on the bit about Sheridan being in overall command, but Meade assumes Sheridan will take command since he is senior officer over Warren.  Meade will tell Warren to report to Sheridan.  Meade explains why he thinks the Hoke rumor was started, and why he believes it to be incorrect. 342

 

  • Fifth Corps order, 11 pm: General Griffin and General Crawford will mass their divisions at the point at which this order reaches them and report their positions by the officer that brings it. A change of plan makes this necessary. 368

 

  • Warren to Ayres, 11 pm: Instead of halting tonight, proceed down Boydton Plank Road to Dinwiddie CH and Sheridan. Send a staff officer to report when head of your column marches past my HQ.  369

 

  • Humphreys to Meade, 11 pm (recd 2:45 am April 1 [why the delay?]): Humphreys basically states that simply resuming his position from the early morning should work. 352

 

  • Meade to Humphreys, 11:30 pm: Ord will put batteries on a picket line knoll he captured. This should put a flanking fire on the left of the Confederates facing Humphreys the next morning, allowing Humphreys to assault and capture these lines.  Talk to Ord and cooperate.  We’ve already told you Fifth Corps is leaving.  You are on your own.  Do what you can.  352

 

  • Humphreys to Warren, (no time given)(recd 12:40 am April 1): Humphreys tells Warren the Second Corps will go back to where they started on the morning of March 31, asking when Warren proposes to move. H wants to move with W. [Does Humphreys know at this point that Warren is leaving?  With no “sent” time it’s hard to tell for sure.]  353

 

  • Meade to Warren, 11:45 pm (recd 1 am April 1): Since the bridge over Gravelly Run at Boydton Plank Road is out, would it be quicker to send troops along Quaker Road to the east, then west to Sheridan? Time is of the essence.  Sheridan needs reinforcements to be safe at Dinwiddie, and you are the only one in position to make it in time.  “Use every exertion” to get troops to Sheridan.   If you must, send troops by Boydton AND Quaker Roads and give up rear attack. 367

 

  • Meade to Grant, 11:45 pm (recd 1:30 am April 1): Dispatch just received from Warren reports bridge over Gravelly Run destroyed on the Boydton Plank Road, and “will take considerable time to rebuild.” Meade tells Grant that he has as a result ordered Warren to send troops via the longer Quaker Road route or by both Quaker and Boydton Roads, but that Warren must make “every exertion to reinforce Sheridan at the earliest moment.” Warren knows Sheridan will retire via Vaughan Road if he is not reinforced in time and future Confederate attacks force him to retreat. Meade supposes [correctly] that the Confederates will retreat north during the night, fearing a rear or flank attack in their exposed position. Meade has sent orders to Humphreys to co-operate with Ord if Ord’s battery on the newly won skirmish line hill pays dividends in the morning. 342-343

 

 


APRIL 1

  • Warren to Meade, 10:55 pm [NOTE: Message wasn’t sent until 12:30 am due to a break in telegraph line. See Warren to Meade, 12:20 am April 1, page 417]: I sent my orders the first time you ordered me to fall back, and divisions retired in order of Ayres first, then Crawford, then Griffin, which allowed them to move most rapidly to the rear.  I can’t change this now without causing massive confusion.  As a result, I’m sending Ayres to Sheridan, taking Griffin and Crawford into enemy’s rear.  I cannot follow the orders literally due to the order of troops mentioned. 367

 

  • Warren to Meade, 12:30 am: I just found that my earlier message to you (see Warren to Meade, 10:55 pm, March 31, page 367) was not sent yet due to a break in the telegraph line. “I believe it impossible efficiently to change the directions I have given before daybreak. 417

 

  • Warren to Humphreys: 12:40 am: Just received your dispatch via Captain Wister. I figured we could each withdraw individually, due to darkness, and ordered my divisions to do so.  Have since received attack orders for two divisions, sending last division down Boydton to Sheridan’s support.  My artillery under Wainwright, five four-gun batteries, will stay with you along Boydton Plank Road.  I think enemy which drove Sheridan today must withdraw tonight. [Correct.] I have a brigade [Bartlett’s] up the road from J. Boisseau’s.  I have orders to move against force which attacked Sheridan today.  410

 

  • Warren to Meade, 12:20 [1:20?] am: I think we will have an infantry bridge over Gravelly Run at Boydton Plank Road sooner than sending troops around to Quaker Road and back west. If we have any setbacks, I’ll send some troops that way.  Two hours ago, I sent Benyaurd with materials/men he thought needed to finish in one hour, and I trust him to get it done.   Am sending Sheridan “my most available force.”  [Warren means Ayres’ Division, the first one to pull back from the White Oak Road that evening, but he doesn’t specifically say “Ayres’ Division” in this dispatch.] 417

 

  • Warren to Meade, 2:05 am (recd 2:40 am): Benyaurd reports bridge for infantry now ready, and Ayres advancing to Sheridan’s support. [IMPORTANT. GRANT HAD INDICATED TO SHERIDAN THAT WARREN WOULD BE AT DINWIDDIE CH BY MIDNIGHT.  SHERIDAN HAD NO IDEA OF THE BRIDGE BEING OUT AT GRAVELLY RUN.] 418

 

  • Warren to Humphreys, 3:24 am: Line does not rest on Gravelly Run, but one third of a mile from large branch of run. 410

 

  • Meade to Grant, 6 am (recd 6:25 am): Officer to Sheridan returned between 2 and 3 am giving verbally Sheridan’s opinion that enemy were retiring from front. No firing this morning seems to confirm.  Meade asleep at time officer arrived and just now got info.  Warren will be at Dinwiddie soon with whole corps and will require further orders. 395

 

  • Meade to Warren, 6 am: When you get to Sheridan you are under his orders. Send progress report. 418

 

  • Meade to Warren, 8:45 am (recd 12 noon): Chief Ordnance Officer Parker had told your COO to bring the Fifth Corps up to the max ammo allowance, and then send back empty wagons for refills. 418

 

  • Humphreys to Meade, 9 am (recd 9:15 am): Warren still occupies small part of line near Mrs. Butler’s and at the return. Will occupy this area with Miles’ Division when Warren moves out.  [Why was any part of Fifth Corps still there at 9 am?]  404

 

  • Grant to Lincoln, 9:15 am: “Yesterday, as reported, the left of the Fifth Corps attempted to push north so as to cross the White Oak road about W. Dabney’s house, but were driven back. Sheridan at the same time was pushing up the right branch of the two roads from J. Boisseau’s north to the same road, he was at the same time holding Dinwiddie Court-House and the line of Chamberlain’s Creek. He was met by all the enemy’s cavalry and four or five brigades of infantry, and gradually forced back until at 8 p. m. last evening he was holding a line from Chamberlain’s Creek to the Boydton road, probably not more than one mile from the Court-House. After the falling back of two divisions of the Fifth Corps they again pushed forward and gained the position on the White Oak road first sought. Finding, however, the situation Sheridan was in, orders were sent Warren after dark to leave the position he held, and to push two divisions down by J. Boisseau’s and one down the Boydton to his relief. I had much hopes of destroying the force detached by the enemy so far to our rear. I have not yet heard the result, but I knew that Sheridan took the offensive this a. m. Ord yesterday pushed the enemy’s pickets from the left of his (Ord’s) line next to Hatcher’s Run, capturing 189 men and two officers, with but very little loss to us. This put Ord so close to the enemy that he cannot put out pickets in front. This morning before day the enemy attempted to drive him from his position, but was repulsed without loss on our side, and leaving over sixty prisoners in our hands.” 393

 

  • Warren to Meade, 9:30 am: I reached Gravelly Run crossing “early this morning” [when, exactly?] and met Sheridan there. My corps is massed there by his orders. I didn’t see Sheridan personally.  Griffin, leading column, saw him.  [Sheridan was miffed Warren wasn’t at the head of his corps.] If we stay here we can get rations via Boydton Plank Road.  We were only partly able to replenish yesterday.   Enemy didn’t follow as we left White Oak Road line this morning. 418

 

  • Grant to Lincoln, 10:30 am: “In my dispatch this morning I made a mistake in saying Ord lost nothing in the attack made on him this a. m. His casualties were about thirty killed and wounded. He reported no casualties in Turner’s division, which led me into the error. The quicksands of this section exceed anything I have ever seen. Roads have to be corduroyed in front of teams and artillery as they advance. We were fifty-six hours moving 600 teams five miles with 1,200 men to help them. Through the woods where it is perfectly dry for infantry, horses will go through so deep as to scarcely be able to extricate themselves. I have nothing special to report at this hour.” 393

 

  • Warren to Humphreys, 2:50 pm: Warren has just ordered corps HQ moved to front. Also supplies and two batteries of artillery.  Command under Gen. Pearson at this point [Fifth Corps HQ prior to move to Sheridan?] to escrot train.  Pearson will withdraw his pickets and guard over the bridge over the run [at Boydton Plank Road?].  He will notify Miles as he is leaving. 411

 

Editor’s Note: I left these messages out of the general list above because I couldn’t place them at their proper times without more information.

 

  • Grant to Sheridan, (no time, but seems like evening on April 1 due to clues in the message): Miles’ Division will move onto White Oak Road. Mackenzie probably won’t reach there until 9 pm this evening. An attack ordered for 4 am in the morning at three points nearer Petersburg.  [Is this early in the morning on April 1, or late in the evening on April 1?  I could make a case for either. The bit about Mackenzie makes me think it is early in the morning on April 1.  Mackenzie was with Sheridan by evening of April 1.] You must do what you think best in your isolated position.  Get something done to the South Side railroad.  434

 

  • Merritt to Sheridan, (no time, but early in morning of April 1 based on context clues): Cavalry on our left front. I think enemy infantry has moved north and east to connect with their main line’s right flank.  Infantry still at Five Forks too.  434

 

  • Sheridan to Crook (2/Cav/AotP), (no time, but presumably early morning based on context clues): Be ready to move immediately.  Warren to attack enemy in flank at daylight from Boydton Road.  Forage is available for you near your camp.  435

***



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