be completely at the command of the president for any purpose whatever." Mr. Foote adds, in that connection, that he was satisfied that Mr. Davis would, in sending peace commissioners, "so manacle their hands by instructions, as to render impossible all attempts at successful negotiation."
A Desperate Struggle - Battle at the Five Forks-Assault on Petersburg - Panic in Richmond - Flight of the Confederate Government - Richmond on Fire - National Troops Enter It - Trophies and Confederate Archives - Rejoicings - Seward's Speech - Evacuation of Petersburg - Lee Becomes Despondent, is Defeated, and Surrenders at Appomattox Court-House - Lincoln in Richmond - Proclamation of Peace - Assassination of the President - The Assassin's Fate - Johnson President - A Murderous Plot - Proposal by the Confederate Leader Rejected by General Johnston - Surrender of General Johnston and Others - Capture of Jefferson Davis - Leniency toward Him.
Ater Lee's effort to break through the National line at Fort Steadman, it was resolved to make a grand movement against the Confederate right. Large bodies of troops were drawn from the Army of the James, under General Ord. General Sheridan, with ten thousand horsemen, was placed on the extreme left of the National army. The Ninth corps, under General Parke, and the force commanded by General Weitzel, were left on the north side of the James to hold the extended line of the National intrenchments, then full thirty-five miles in length; and General Grant gave wide discretion to the commander on the left, concerning attacks upon the Confederate line during the contemplated grand movement. "I would have it particularly enjoined upon corps commanders," he said, "that in case of an attack from the enemy, those not attacked are not to wait for orders from the commanding officers of the army to which they may belong, but that they will move promptly, and notify the commander of their action." General Benham was in charge of the immense depository of supplies at City Point.
Two days after Sheridan's return from his great raid at the close of March, the forward movement was begun. Lee perceived his own imminent peril; and leaving Longstreet with eight thousand men to protect Richmond, he massed the remainder of his army at the point of most apparent danger. Then began a fierce and desperate struggle for the mastery. It was made on the part of the Nationals chiefly by the Fifth corps, under Warren, with the co-operation of Sheridan. The latter, holding a position called the Five Forks, was struck so suddenly and severely by troops under Pickett and Bushrod Johnson, that his force was driven back to Dinwiddie Court-House, in great confusion, hotly pursued. Warren was sent to Sheridan's aid; and near Five Forks a sanguinary battle was fought on the 1st of April. The Confederates were defeated and fled westward in great disorder, leaving five thousand of their comrades behind as prisoners of war. Many of the Confederates perished in the battle; and the loss of the Nationals was about a thousand men.
On the evening of the battle at the Five Forks, and before the shouts of victory there had reached the National line before Petersburg, General Grant had ordered his great guns all along that line to open a destructive cannonade upon the city and the Confederate works. The assault was kept up until four