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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign)
Page 906 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

the corps to take the right of the army in the pursuit; but these orders were shortly after charged by instructions to move via Jetersville to the vicinity of Deatonsville, and take position on the left of the Second Corps and of the army. In obedience to these instructions the corps was promptly started. Following for a time the road from Jetersville, parallel to the railroad, and then turning square to the right, the road passing Deatonsville was reached at a point to the southward of that place. Here I found the Second Corps was engaged in skirmishing in advance of the road; and awaiting the arrival of the column the ground on the left of that corps was reconnoitered with a view to taking up that position, but finding the country to be a difficult one through which to advance, and hearing the cavalry heavily engaged some distance to the left, I moved on the arrival of the head of the column down the Burkeville road, perhaps a mile, and, turning sharp to the right, proceeded across the country toward a nearly parallel road on which the enemy was moving with troops and trains, and along which he had thrown up some slight breast-works. As soon as Seymour's division, which was leading, could be formed it was moved upon the road held by the enemy, which was carried after a slight resistance. This movement compelled a part of the enemy's force to move off by a branch road to the right, and in front of the Second Corps, which was rapidly coming up. The road being carried, the Third Division was wheeled to the left, with its left on the road, and Wheaton's Division, which had come up, having been rapidly formed on Seymour's let, the line was advanced down the road against a pretty sharp resistance for about two miles, when reaching Sailor's Creek, a marshy and difficult stream, it was found that the enemy had reformed his line on the opposite side, and that he had thrown up such breast-works at various points of his line as time permitted. Readjusting the lines somewhat, the First and Third Divisions keeping their previous formation of the Third on the right, the creek was crossed, and the attack made, the artillery, previously established imposition, opening with great effect upon the enemy, while the Second Division, still in rear, was hurried up to take part in the battle in case it should be needed, and at any rate to sustain the batteries which were without support. This division was rapidly brought forward at the double-quick by Brevet Major-General Getty, and though not actually engaged performed an important part by its presence. The First and Third Divisions charged the enemy's position, carrying it handsomely, except at a point on our right of the road crossing the creek, where a column, said to be composed exclusively of the Marine Brigade and other troops which had held the lines of Richmond previous to the evacuation, made a countrencharge upon that part of our lines in their front. I was never more astonished. These troops were surrounded-the First and Third Divisions of this corps were on either flank, my artillery and a fresh division in their front, and some three divisions of Major-General Sheridan's cavalry in their rear. Looking upon them as already our prisoners, I had ordered the artillery to cease firing as a dictate of humanity; my surprise therefore was extreme when this force charged upon our front; but the fire of our infantry, which had already gained their flanks, the capture of their superior officers, already in our hands, the concentrated and murderous fire of six batteries of our artillery within effective range, brought them promptly to a surrender.

The position was won, the right of the rebel army was annihilated, and the prisoners secured were counted by thousands.


Page 906 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign)
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